Key Terms and Concepts

One of the challenges in creating alignment across a complex institution like UMB is that the language around belonging, justice, equity, diversity and inclusion is continuously emerging and evolving. It is imperative to create a shared understanding of the key terms and concepts around these issues, and also to continue to be attentive to the need to deepen our understanding through the development of these important words and phrases.

The following glossary should be used with these considerations in mind. 



The normalization of being able-bodied while other types of bodies are seen as needing to be cured or altered.

Providing equitable access to all people throughout the continuum of human abilities, identities, and experiences.

Affinity groups
Generally, an identity, shared interest, or common goal-based voluntary or informal collective that may or may not be formally recognized or supported by an institution. At UMB, some affinity groups for students are formally recognized through a process led by the Division of Student Affairs.

Being connected as an essential part of a community and culture and having a meaningful role in achieving the mission and core values.

Cultural humility
A dynamic and lifelong process focusing on self-reflection acknowledging one’s own biases and positionality to better understand one’s relationship to others’ complex, shifting, and intersecting identities.

All the individual and intersectional differences in our identities, such as age, carceral status, caring or dependency responsibilities, caste, culture, disability, education, ethnicity, family, gender identity and expression, immigration status, language, nationality, neurodiversity, occupation, political beliefs, race, relationship status, religion or belief, sexual orientation, socioeconomic background, and more. 

  • Visible diversity: Aspects of identities that are perceived easily, when those identities conform to an expected range primarily through visual cues of bodies, clothing, or adornment. Examples include race, gender, and visible disabilities.
  • Invisible diversity: Aspects of identity that are usually not obvious through bodies, clothing, or adornment. Examples include sexuality, immigration status, neurodiversity, and invisible disabilities.

A commonly used acronym for equity, diversity, and inclusion.

Employee Resource Groups (ERGs)
Usually organized around a shared identity or characteristic, ERGs exist to increase belonging and inclusion in the workplace and support community building and connection. They can provide mentoring and sponsorship, professional development, career advancement activities, and awareness efforts. At UMB, ERGs will be formally recognized through a process that the Office of Equity, Diversity, and Inclusion will develop.

Ensuring fair access to opportunities and resources to meet different individual’s needs and strengths. Achieving equity involves assessing and addressing disparities and barriers.

Health equity
When all people, regardless of race, ethnicity, gender, sexual orientation, disability, socioeconomic status, caste, location, or other socially constructed identities have equitable and just access, opportunity, and resources to achieve their highest potential for health.

This term was created by the federal government and refers to the Latin term for Spain, Hispanicus. It refers to Spain or Spanish-speaking countries. It was replaced with the terms “Latino/a/x/” and now “Latine” (see below), which refers to regions and people from Latin America and the Caribbean, and not only language.

The full engagement, welcoming, valuing, and integration of all people and the distribution of power systemically at all levels.

The consideration that identities overlap and cannot be separated.

An acronym for justice, equity, diversity, and inclusion.

Long-term and systemic equity based in adjusting institutions and systems to ensure equal rights and equitable opportunities and access for all members of the community.

This is a gender-neutral alternative to Latino or Latina. Created and spread within LGBTQIA+ communities, this term describes the population in its own lexicon using the final letter “e” to illustrate gender inclusivity within existing Spanish language and pronunciation. It replaces the “x” in “Latinx,” which imposes an English-language creation onto Spanish speakers. Latin America, which includes Central America, South America, and the Caribbean, is the focus of this term, which includes Portuguese-speaking Brazilians and others who are not considered Hispanic because their societies do not speak Spanish.

Medical racism
Structured and institutionalized barriers to the achievement of health equity based on targeted discriminatory practices, including teachings driven by stereotypes in service to a racial hierarchy.

This sociological term emphasizes that people are oppressed or marginalized because systemic inequalities, oppression, and marginalization place individuals into “minority” status as part of the maintenance of the racial hierarchy. This term also signals that a group’s status is not necessarily related to how many or few of them there are in the population at large.

In sociological terms, one who because of identity is limited in access to power. However, this term emphasizes this powerlessness as an inherent aspect of the group, deemphasizes the causes of this power difference, and causes confusion because it implies the lower power status is due to smaller numbers of this group in the larger population.

Non-Underrepresented Minority (Non-URM):
The federal government classifies “underrepresented minorities” (URMs) as described below; non-URMs are those who belong to all other race/ethnicity categories and those who are not U.S. citizens. Non-URM can include people of mixed race because when this category (“two or more races”) is reported for federal purposes, it can include individuals who are of European and Asian American heritage (both of which are considered non-URM) and also those of Black and Latine heritage (both of which are considered URM).

Underrepresented Minority (URM)
The National Institutes of Health (NIH) classifies URMs as “individuals from racial and ethnic groups that have been shown by the National Science Foundation to be underrepresented in health-related sciences on a national basis. (See data at and the report “Women, Minorities, and Persons with Disabilities in Science and Engineering.”) The following racial and ethnic groups have been shown to be underrepresented in biomedical research: Blacks or African Americans, Hispanics or Latinos, American Indians or Alaska Natives, Native Hawaiians and other Pacific Islanders. In addition, it is recognized that underrepresentation can vary from setting to setting.” The NIH includes in the definition of URM “individuals with disabilities” and “individuals from disadvantaged backgrounds.” (For a full definition, please see Please note: There is scholarly dispute about the appropriateness of using the terms “URM” and “Non-URM.”)

Underrepresented in Medicine (URiM)
This term was created in 2003 by the Association of American Medical Colleges to replace the term URM, which was seen as potentially harmful due to an emphasis on amalgamating various identities and thus ignoring significant differences. The current NIH definition of URM appears intended to address some of these issues.

The presence of people with intersectional differences in the full range of roles and positions proportional to the distribution of those categories in society.